Friday, December 30, 2005

Jack Kelly on WaPo's sliming of Bill Roggio 
"The errors about Mr. Roggio's whereabouts and his media affiliation are minor. Erroneously describing Bill as a "retired" soldier is significant only in that it indicates a fundamental ignorance of the military appalling in two reporters who are based in Baghdad. The misstatement of the embed process likely was deliberate, because had it been described accurately, the premise of the story would have been shown to be false."

Well, fundamental ignorance of all things military is nothing new. But that failing is localized to the two guys who wrote the story. There's nothing in assertion that Bill Roggio was retired military that would have triggered a sharp fact checker back in the WaPo building.

But the misstatements concerning the embed process truly are an egregious failing among the WaPo editors, who should know better.

The greatest screw up of them all, however, was the insinuation that Roggio has become a "weapon" to be used by the USMC. When the WaPo did that, they undermined Roggio's good name and reputation for independence - without basis in fact.

And when they did so, the Washington Post comes perilously close to exposing themselves to a libel claim.

Of course, the Post can argue that for the purposes of discussing the Iraq war, Bill Roggio is a limited purpose public figure, and therefore must demonstrate "actual malice." I think that argument is dicey, in this case, though, because of the misrepresentation of the embed process.

The Post, however, cannot lay claim to the absolute defense of truth, though. And for this reason alone should promptly and prominently publish a retraction and a correction of the record.

Splash, out


Thanks for covering this story. Roggio and Yon have provided more in depth coverage of the military in Iraq than all the msm put together.
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